Reed, Sir Carol, 1906-76, English film director, b. London. He acted and directed on the stage before turning to films in the mid-1930s. Reed powerfully portrayed characters at the end of their tethers, frequently in a postwar environment, in films such as Odd Man Out (1946), The Fallen Idol (1948), The Third Man (1949), Outcast of the Islands (1951), Our Man in Havana (1959), and Oliver! (1968), for which he won an Academy Award.
Reed, James Alexander, 1861-1944, American political leader, b. near Mansfield, Ohio. He moved to Iowa and was admitted (1885) to the bar, practicing there and later in Missouri. He was (1898-1900) an extremely successful prosecuting attorney of Jackson co., Mo., and then served (1900-1904) as mayor of Kansas City, Mo. As Democratic senator (1911-29) from Missouri, he adamantly opposed national prohibition and U.S. participation in the League of Nations. In 1928 he was a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, but lost it to Alfred E. Smith.
Reed, John, 1887-1920, American journalist and radical leader, b. Portland, Oreg. After graduating from Harvard in 1910, he wrote articles for various publications and from 1913 was attached to the radical magazine The Masses. His coverage of the Paterson, N.J., silk workers strike of 1913 profoundly affected him, and thereafter he became a proponent of revolutionary politics. The articles that he wrote from Mexico about Pancho Villa established his reputation as a journalist and a radical. He served as a reporter in Europe in World War I and was in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) when the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917; his book, Ten Days That Shook the World (1919), is considered the best eyewitness account of the revolution. Expelled from the U.S. Socialist convention in 1919, he helped to organize the Communist Labor party, a left-wing splinter group of the Socialist party. He was indicted for sedition in New York City in 1918 and in Philadelphia in 1919, but both cases were dropped. Reed returned to the USSR, worked in the Soviet bureau of propaganda, and was appointed Soviet consul to New York. Upon protest from the U.S. government, Reed was withdrawn from the consulship. He died in Moscow of typhus and was buried at the Kremlin. A selection of his writings was edited by John Stuart (1955).

See biographies by G. Hicks (1936), R. O'Connor and D. L. Walker (1967), and B. Gelb (1973).

Reed, Joseph, 1741-85, American Revolutionary political leader and army officer, b. Trenton, N.J. He studied law, was admitted (1763) to the bar, and then went to London to study at the Middle Temple. After returning (1765) to practice law in Trenton, he took an active part in pre-Revolutionary affairs. After settling (1770) in Philadelphia Reed became a member of the committee of correspondence (1774) and president of the Pennsylvania provincial congress (1775). In the war he served as military secretary to George Washington and as adjutant general and took part in a number of battles. He served in the Continental Congress (1777-78). As president (1778-81) of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania he abolished slavery in Pennsylvania and caused (1778) Benedict Arnold to be prosecuted on charges of corrupt practices. He was a trustee and founder of the Univ. of the State of Pennsylvania (later the Univ. of Pennsylvania).

See biography by J. F. Roche (1957, repr. 1968).

Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1938-57), b. Macon co., Ky. After receiving the B.A. degree from both Kentucky Wesleyan (1902) and Yale (1906), he studied law at the Univ. of Virginia and Columbia Univ. and then studied in France. A lawyer of Maysville, Ky., he became general counsel of the Federal Farm Board (1929-32) and of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (1932-35). He was (1935-38) Solicitor General and presented the government arguments in numerous New Deal cases. Appointed to the Supreme Court by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Reed was generally considered a moderate there and often held the balance between the liberal and the conservative members of the court in split decisions.
Reed, Thomas Brackett, 1839-1902, American legislator, b. Portland, Maine. A lawyer, he served in the state assembly (1868-69) and state senate (1870) and became (1870-73) state attorney general before he was elected (1876) as a Republican to the U.S. Congress. Reed quickly took his place among the leaders of his party. As Speaker of the House (1889-91, 1895-99) he inaugurated the "Reed Rules" (1890)—one of which determined the House quorum by the count of members present rather than by the count of those voting. "Czar" Reed, as he was known, also arbitrarily used the speaker's power of recognition to prevent minority obstruction and to facilitate orthodox Republican legislation in the face of strong opposition. Reed was an advocate of high tariffs. He strongly opposed the war with Spain, the annexation of Hawaii, and the ensuing expansion program. Reelected in 1898, he retired from Congress in 1899 and then practiced law in New York City.

See biography by S. W. McCall (1914, repr. 1972).

Reed, Walter, 1851-1902, American army surgeon, b. Gloucester co., Va. In 1900 he was sent to Havana as head of an army commission to investigate an outbreak of yellow fever among American soldiers. Following the earlier suggestion by C. J. Finlay that the disease was transmitted by a mosquito vector rather than by direct contact, Reed and his companions used human volunteers under controlled experimental conditions to prove this conclusively. In 1901 they published their findings that yellow fever was caused by a virus borne by the Stegomyia fasciata mosquito (later designated as Aëdes aegypti).

See studies by H. A. Kelly (3d ed. 1923), A. E. Truby (1943), and L. N. Wood (1943).

reed, name used for several plants of the family Graminae (grass family). The common American reed, also called reedgrass and canegrass, is a tall perennial grass (Phragmites australis), widely distributed in fresh or brackish wet places. It has stout, creeping rootstalks and a large plumelike panicle. In the SW United States this grass is called carrizo and is used in building adobe huts; it has also been used for thatching and cordage. Native Americans collected a sweet exudate from the plant and made arrows of the stalks. The leaves served as edible greens and the seeds as a cereal food. Due in part to the degradation of salt marshes and in part to the supplanting of the native P. australis by a Eurasian variety, the reed has become invasive in American wetlands, where it often forms a monoculture. The giant reed (Arundo donax), of similar appearance, is native to the Mediterranean region but is now widely naturalized throughout tropical and warm climates, including the S United States. It is often cultivated for ornament, and in Europe the stems have been used to make reed instruments, bagpipes, and reed organs. This is the reed from which Pan was fabled to have made his panpipe, or syrinx. The "reeds" of wickerwork are often rattan. Reeds are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Gramineae.
Smoot, Reed, 1862-1941, U.S. senator (1903-33), b. Salt Lake City, Utah. He became successful as a banker and was prominent in the affairs of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. He was the first Mormon to be elected (1902) to the U.S. Senate. Efforts were made to bar him from his seat because he was a Mormon, but he was seated after a Senate investigation. Smoot, a conservative Republican, joined the "irreconcilables" in opposing the League of Nations and was one of the group that worked for Warren G. Harding's nomination (1920). In his later years in the Senate he was chairman of the finance committee; he helped write the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act (1930), which he cosponsored with Oregon Representative Willis C. Hawley.
Reed's law is the assertion of David P. Reed that the utility of large Network, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network.

The reason for this is that the number of possible sub-groups of network participants is 2^N - N - 1 , , where N is the number of participants. This grows much more rapidly than either

  • the number of participants, N, or
  • the number of possible pair connections, frac{N(N-1)}{2} (which follows Metcalfe's law)

so that even if the utility of groups available to be joined is very small on a peer-group basis, eventually the network effect of potential group membership can dominate the overall economics of the system.


Given a set A of N people, it has 2^N possible subsets. This is not difficult to see, since we can form each possible subset by simply choosing for each element of A one of two possibilities: whether to include that element, or not.

However, this includes the (one) empty set, and N Singletons, which are not properly subgroups. So 2^N - N - 1 subsets remain, which is exponential, like 2^N .


From David P. Reed's, "The Law of the Pack" (Harvard Business Review, February 2001, pp 23-4):

"[E]ven Metcalfe's Law understates the value created by a group-forming network [GFN] as it grows. Let's say you have a GFN with n members. If you add up all the potential two-person groups, three-person groups, and so on that those members could form, the number of possible groups equals 2^n. So the value of a GFN increases exponentially, in proportion to 2^n. I call that Reed's Law. And its implications are profound."

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